For a team that has bonded like a family and reveled in each other’s success over the last 45-odd days, watching the players wear a gloomy look in the dressing room after losing the World Cup final, was an anguishing sight. The outcome of the match was yet to sink in, tears were flowing, the smiles that had become so infectious thus far had vanished, and the expressions on their faces signalled almost the end of the world. This one was going to sting, and it’s going to be a hard next couple of days.
But thanks to fielding coach T Dilip, who has been the single biggest vibe of positivity, and his one last medal ceremony, Team India found a brief but much-needed reason to cheer. Virat Kohli, the first recipient of this medal on October 8, also ended up being the last. Despite winning the Player of the Tournament award, Kohli was glum all through, but Dilip’s gesture acted as a healing force.
“Guys, I know it’s tough and we all feel the pain, but that’s sport. We did everything possibly right and still the result was not in our favour. But I think, as Rahul bhai said, we can all be proud of ourselves. I appreciate and thank every player in this group who has committed in the practice sessions. The way you put yourself on the line, your energy, your intent. I couldn’t have asked for more than this. Well done,” Dilip said in the dressing room after India’s crushing six-wicket loss to Australia as an applause finally broke out.
“Throughout this tournament, we took some brilliant catches but what I liked the most was the brotherhood we shared. The way everyone supported each other, the way everyone was batting was outstanding. I see everyone only growing up as a team on the field.”
Only four Australian wickets fell, but Kohli’s catch to dismiss David Warner in the second over of the Australian innings fetched him the medal. Kohli and Gill’s lack of coordination gave Warner a lifeline first ball as he edged the ball between first and second slip where both were positioned, but the former India captain redeemed himself by completing a smart catch in the next over itself off Mohammed Shami’s bowling to make him the leading wicket-taker of the 2023 World Cup.
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“Today’s winner… he’s been a terrific player. He sets himself up great standards and everytime he goes on the field, he just does magic. And the best part is that he not only does his job so well but his actions inspire so many people. And it’s none other than Virat Kohli,” he said.
There’s something about this medal ceremony that brightens up the mood. For the next 10 seconds, everyone clapped and cheered. Dilip handed the medal to Ravindra Jadeja, who shared a small laugh and put it around Kohli’s neck. Their hearts were bleeding, but in that moment, the echoes of the claps had taken all the pain away. However, it is important to note that while all the players and members of the support staff were present for the ceremony, India captain Rohit Sharma was nowhere to be seen. In fact, after Rohit struggled to hold back his tears and gathered himself up to address the post-match presentation ceremony, he wasn’t spotted in the public eye.